Women Who Read Are Dangerous, by Stefan Bollmann — A Review

From the desk of Tracy Hickman: 

If you page through Women Who Read Are Dangerous looking for visual representations that most people associate with danger, you might be confused initially. None of the women are brandishing weapons or committing violent acts. Instead, they sit quietly perusing books, pamphlets, magazines, hymnals, and letters. Some subjects have been caught during a momentary pause in their reading, gazing back at the Continue reading “Women Who Read Are Dangerous, by Stefan Bollmann — A Review”

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency Britain: A Handbook for Visitors to 1789–1830, by Ian Mortimer — A Review

From the desk of Tracy Hickman: 

Austenesque fiction like The Jane Austen Project and the BBC TV series Lost in Austen have entertained Janeites with fantastic stories about journeying back in time to Austen’s Regency Britain. While I cannot imagine being tempted myself, unless guaranteed a round-trip ticket, the idea of a virtual visit to Austen’s Britain with an experienced tour guide who is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a writer of Continue reading “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency Britain: A Handbook for Visitors to 1789–1830, by Ian Mortimer — A Review”

Jane Austen’s Table: Recipes Inspired by the Works of Jane Austen, by Robert Tuesley Anderson — A Review

From the desk of Tracy Hickman:  

One of my favorite Austen quotes from her letters concerns food: “I shall eat ice and drink French wine and be above vulgar economy.” This was penned in anticipation of a visit to Godmersham, where her brother Edward provided luxuries beyond Jane’s regular fare. From the white soup that Mr. Bingley’s kitchen staff prepare for the ball at Netherfield, to the picnic at Boxhill in Emma, food sustains the Continue reading “Jane Austen’s Table: Recipes Inspired by the Works of Jane Austen, by Robert Tuesley Anderson — A Review”

A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire — A Review

From the desk of Tracy Hickman:

If friends are family that we choose, then what do our friendships reveal about us? And what might the literary friendships of women tell us about their lives and their work? Authors and friends Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney examine the relationships of iconic literary women in A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf to uncover “a treasure-trove of hidden alliances.” (xvi) Continue reading “A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire — A Review”

A Preview of Two New Books Featuring Martha Lloyd, Jane Austen’s Second Sister

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

Have you ever read a book and felt an immediate infinity to the author—like they were your best friend and had written the book just for you? It doesn’t happen very often for me, but it did when I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time many years ago. I had to discover who Jane Austen was and what she was like. When I learned that Martha Lloyd was her best friend, I was immediately jealous. Who was this Martha, and why did my Jane consider her, “…the friend & Sister under every circumstance.”?

Two new books will illuminate  a lot. Martha Lloyd’s Household Book, is a copy of the actual book compiled and written by Martha that she used in the Austen household when she lived with them, and Continue reading “A Preview of Two New Books Featuring Martha Lloyd, Jane Austen’s Second Sister”

A Preview & Exclusive Slideshow of A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, by Rachel McMillan, and illustrated by Laura Leigh Bean

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

I am a true movie geek and confess to having spent a good portion of my free time since childhood in a movie theater or glued to the TV screen. I adore everything from the Golden Age of Hollywood classics to modern creations.

Now that we can stream just about any movie ever made through pay for view or subscription services, our options can be overwhelming. That is why I enjoy movie guides to help curate my choices. When I learned that historical mystery and fiction author Rachel McMillan shared my passion for movies and was Continue reading “A Preview & Exclusive Slideshow of A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, by Rachel McMillan, and illustrated by Laura Leigh Bean”

A Preview & Slideshow of Jane Was Here: An Illustrated Guide to Jane Austen’s England, by Nicole Jacobsen, Devynn Dayton, & Lexi K. Nilson

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Hello readers! Do you have plans for the weekend? While international and local travel is restricted during the pandemic, would you like to visit Jane Austen’s England from the safety of your armchair?

It is great to know that we can still visit Jane Austen country via Jane Was Here. This copiously illustrated travel guide takes us to all of the hot spots in Austenland: London, Chawton, Bath, Lyme Regis, and the Peak District. Authors Nicole Jacobsen and Devynn Dayton have planned out a delightful itinerary illustrated by Lexi K. Nilson. Continue reading “A Preview & Slideshow of Jane Was Here: An Illustrated Guide to Jane Austen’s England, by Nicole Jacobsen, Devynn Dayton, & Lexi K. Nilson”

Bitch in a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen from the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps (Volume 1), by Robert Rodi—A Review  

Bitch in a Bonnet, by Robert Rodi (2012)From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Compiling his thoughts on the first three of Jane Austen’s published novels, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park, author Robert Rodi fires a broadside at the swooning, sugary sentimentality of the modern Jane Austen fan craze.  He is appalled that such a group has turned a witty, sharp-tongued wonder into trite purple prose and slapped her silhouette on a t-shirt. Forging ahead for over four hundred pages, he dissects these Austen novels chapter by chapter, line upon line, precept upon precept highlighting a lack of romance and a decided prevalence of comedy and insight into the human condition.

I would like to give an early warning that this is not a book for those who have never read these novels. Though, it might be argued that it is exactly for those who are still considering them. My warning is for those who prefer to go into their books without spoilers and no undue influence because, reader, the author most definitely means to influence and discuss with thoroughness each character and each event and he does. Continue reading “Bitch in a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen from the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps (Volume 1), by Robert Rodi—A Review  “

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, by Helena Kelly—A Review

Jane Austen Secret Radical 2018From the desk of Tracy Hickman:

Was Jane Austen a radical? Was she sympathetic to the “radical reforms” of Charles James Fox and others that included universal male suffrage, the abolition of slavery, and women’s rights? Few would readily place her in the company of Thomas Paine, William Godwin, or Mary Wollstonecraft, but perhaps that is because she kept her dangerous views so well hidden that most of her contemporaries, as well as later generations, have missed them. While I began reading Jane Austen, The Secret Radical with an open but somewhat skeptical mind, I was curious to see what evidence Helena Kelly would provide. In Chapter 1, she throws down the gauntlet: 

We’re perfectly willing to accept that writers like [William] Wordsworth were fully engaged with everything that was happening and to find the references in their work, even when they’re veiled or allusive. But we haven’t been willing to do it with Jane’s work. We know Jane; we know that however delicate her touch she’s essentially writing variations of the same plot, a plot that wouldn’t be out of place in any romantic comedy of the last two centuries.   Continue reading “Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, by Helena Kelly—A Review”

A Preview & Slideshow of The World of Sanditon: The Official Companion Book, by Sara Sheridan

The World of Sanditon, by Sara Sheridan (2019)Welcome to Sanditon, an 1819 Regency seaside community in Sussex England—the fictional site of the new ITV/PBS television adaptation/continuation of Jane Austen’s final unfinished novel.

For those who are watching the eight-part series currently airing in the US on PBS, The World of Sanditon, by Sara Sheridan will be catnip to heighten your addiction. A copiously illustrated behind the scenes look at the making of the new television series, it also is filled with a biography of Jane Austen, historical information on the era, seaside life and health resorts, and Regency life for women.

In addition, there are spotlights on the characters and interviews with the actors who brought them to the screen. Here is a description of the book from the publisher Grand Central Publishing, details on the content, and images from the production for your enjoyment. Continue reading “A Preview & Slideshow of The World of Sanditon: The Official Companion Book, by Sara Sheridan”

The Lost Books of Jane Austen, by Janine Barchas — A Review

The Lost Books of Jane Austen, by Janine Barcas (2019)Today is #JaneAustenDay, marking the online celebration of her birthday. Born on a stormy night in 1775, she was the seventh child of Rev. George Austen and his lady Cassandra of Steventon, Hampshire. Her modest beginning stands in strong contrast to her international fame today. In observance, I am participating in a blog tour organized by TLC Blog Tours for a new Austen book worthy of your consideration, The Lost Books of Jane Austen.

Scholar Janine Barchas and I share a passion for Jane Austen and book collecting. In the early 1990s, I started my search for illustrated editions of Jane Austen’s novels, while she was hunting for the early inexpensive editions of Austen’s works that were marketed to Britain’s working-class folk. At the time I was actively collecting I was unaware of Continue reading “The Lost Books of Jane Austen, by Janine Barchas — A Review”

Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion, by Hilary Davidson — A Review

Dress in the Age of Jane Austen, by Hilary Davidson (2019)“Fashions come and go; bad taste is timeless.” — Beau Brummell

So saith the arbiter of style in the Regency era when all of Jane Austen’s books were published and she and her characters dwelled. Since fashion is mentioned sparingly in her novels how is one to know, two hundred years after the fact, what is fashionable and what is in bad taste? Is that actress in the current period drama wearing clothing appropriate to the era, her age, and her social status? Is the hero wearing a top hat that Victorian author Charles Dickens would have worn? Is that pelisse polyester, and is a half “updo” hairstyle totally inappropriate? Dress in the Age of Jane Austen, by Hilary Davidson explores these dilemmas for modern readers of Austen’s fiction, the adaptations of her works, and those set during the same timeframe.

When I first opened this book and skimmed its pages, I was overcome by its beauty. Page after page of eye-popping images of Regency clothing, portraits, landscapes, fashion plates, and cartoons by famous artists and illustrators of Austen’s day. The publisher states that the book boasts 180 full-color illustrations, and I do not doubt it. Here is a slide show of a few that I found especially significant to give you a glimpse of the extensive research that the author conducted to bring the book to life.

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Continue reading “Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion, by Hilary Davidson — A Review”

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